March 24, 2009

Israelis dismayed as UK retains war crimes laws

You'll remember the case of an Israeli war crimes suspect leaving London Heathrow airport without even leaving the plane because of an arrest warrant over war crimes in an earlier assault on Gaza. Well the UK had promised Israel that it would change its war crimes legislation so that Israelis can come here without the fear of prosecution. Well now apparently, the UK isn't going to change the law after all. Here's Ha'aretz:
London will not push through changes in legislation that permits the arrest of Israel Defense Forces officers visiting Britain on war crimes, as previously promised, Jerusalem has learned.

In an unofficial message to Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Britain said that as a result of the decline in Israel's public image following Operation Cast Lead the government believes it will be unable to pass the amendment to the legislation before next year's scheduled elections.
So in the wake of the assault on Gaza the rockets haven't stopped, Hamas is still in power and an Israeli war criminal is still a war criminal. Remind me, what did Israel gain from Gaza?

But what does the UK Foreign Office have to say:
We recognize Israeli concerns but this is a complex legal issue
Complex legal issue? Try public relations disaster.

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